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On the move . . . Hospice shop supervisor Jenifer Callanan (left) and hospice community care co-ordinator Bridget McAtamney outside the North Otago hospice hub's new home. PHOTO: SHANNON GILLIES

The long-awaited North Otago hospice hub will open in October after Otago Community Hospice secured a prominent Oamaru building to house its local services.

The organisation has purchased the Anaro Investments building at 343 Thames Highway, opposite Orana Park, ending a five-month search for a prominent base.

The building was purchased through income generated by several fundraisers, including the Portside Punch in June 2014, which was driven by Oamaru publican Sally Ann-Donnelly and raised more than $118,000, and three North Otago Boar and Stag Musters, which raised a combined total of about $29,000.

Other funds were raised by the district’s Lions clubs, while individual donations and a significant bequest from the late Nigel Wilson meant the hospice could press forward with its plans.

Otago Community Hospice chief executive Ginny Green was delighted a hospice hub would finally be established in North Otago, after more than three years of planning.

“After months of searching for the perfect spot to locate all our services and our hospice shop, we have finally found the site that ticks all the boxes.

“We are really excited that our long-time dream of having a hub facility for North Otago is now a reality. The hub will be a facility where patients and families can come – for a clinic appointment, counselling or support. It will have a training room where education sessions will be held for other providers and volunteers and our shop will relocate as well.

“It’s really high-profile. It’s a terrific place for our shop and has great parking for our patients. I just think it will make us, given the profile of the site and the money that’s been raised by the community, further ingrained in the North Otago community.”

While other options were considered, the hospice believed buying its own building was the best choice.

“It’s been a long process because we didn’t want to rush into something that wasn’t going to fit our needs.

“Leasing was unaffordable, really. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have been happy to pay rent to someone else when we could have been paying for something that was our own, and building was too cost-prohibitive.”

The hospice will take possession of the building in July, and it will be modified before its expected opening in October.

Those modifications included creating more space at the front of the building, knocking out walls for a retail shop, constructing a bathroom with wheelchair access and other “superficial fix-ups”, Mrs Green said.

The hospice shop will be larger than the current premises in Thames St and be able to accept larger items for sale.

When opened, the building will include spaces for patient appointments and counselling sessions, an area for training, and education and staff offices.

While Mrs Green declined to confirm the cost of the building, she said the available funds covered the cost of its purchase and planned building work.

The Otago Community Hospice provides specialist palliative care through the delivery of community-based services to patients across Otago who are dying, and their families.